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Fans Comment
David Flynn

I've had enough
18 October 2005

My God, what is going on with football? 

I was going to finish that sentence with "at the moment", but this has been going on for years now, and frankly I'm sick of it.  Sick of the whining idiots who moan about absolutely everything, from ticket prices to lack of entertainment.  If it's too expensive, don't go.  Simple as that.  Having 30,000 people turn up every couple of weeks paying 45 a ticket is not going to make a chairman think "hold on, I'd better cut prices because too much money is coming in".

And what about loyalty?  Every fan moans about the lack of it shown from players etc., but how about showing some of it back?!  Six months ago, David Moyes was hailed as the best thing to have happened to the club, and now, eight weeks in to the new season, we're meant to get rid of him????  What planet are most of you guys on?  Fine, sack Moyes, and replace him with.... sorry, any suggestions out there?  And this fictional manager, why would we be hiring him?  To stave off relegation that might never happen?  To take us to the next level (wherever that may be, I'm assuming Champions League group stages every year) without having the money or infrastructure to realistically do that?

Say we sack Moyes, and find someone to fill the "Temporay Messiah" post, what's he going to do that's radically different with the same bunch of players?  I know that traditionally the buck must stop with the manager, but I am sick and tired of the fact that 90% of football fans completely miss the point.  We have a stronger squad than last year, the bulk of which is made up of the players who performed so well to get us to 4th.  What the hell are they playing at this year?  Forget sacking Moyes, forget the fact that we missed out on a striker these are excuses that conveniently let the players off the hook.  They need a huge kick up the arse, and I'm sure that if Moyes had the resources to drop half the team, he would.

Apparently, and this is based on internet speculation, Moyes has possibly "lost the dressing room".  If there's one phrase in modern football that makes me sick of the whole thing, it's that.  What right do the players have in deciding that they don't enjoy playing for the manager any more?  He's their boss.  I'm sure we've all worked under people we don't respect, or we don't get on with, but if they tell you to do something, then you bloody well do as you're told to the best of your ability.  And usually you don't have to do it in such a public arena as a football ground.  Some are even moaning that Moyes didn't sign Bellamy or Forsell.  I'll get on to that in a minute.

I don't know about the rest of you, but when we finished 4th, I spent the summer thinking that it would be a miracle even then if we got to the group stages of the Champions League.  The fact is our team and squad last year was pretty poor.  We've made what I think are decent acquisitions over the summer, but still it's a mid-table team at best.  The fact is, our 4th-place finish made a mockery of the so-called best league in the world.  There was no discernable reason why we finished above Tottenham, Liverpool or Newcastle, except that in contrast to football since 1992 a team was playing as a team, fighting for everything, and trying their best.  If all players and teams had performed with the same spirit as we did, we would have finished a lot lower.  A sad indictment for the state of the game.

And whilst I'm here, since when did Gravesen suddenly become the best thing since sliced bread?  He was the most infuriating player I've seen at Goodison.  Capable of the sublime to the phenomenally ridiculous.  Before last season, I would've been more than happy to ship him out, and even in January, after he'd put in some half-decent performances (though not standing out any more than the other players at the time Cahill, Carsley), I wasn't that bothered.  I'm sure most Evertonians were the same.  At least Phil Neville has been consistently better than him.

Then there are the striker issues I agree that we needed one in the summer, and Moyes is being slated for not getting one.  People moan about lack of ambition in going after Bellamy, Forsell, Emre, Parker.  Yet, save for Parker, we haven't missed out on the others have we?  What's Bellamy up to? Has Forsell been banging them in this year?  Has any of them really lit up the league in a way surpassing any in the current Everton side?  The most recent fans' comment lists a load of players like Darren Bent, and Andy Reid as ones Moyes didn't have the guts to go for.  Bent WAS a risk, that's turned out okay, but Andy Reid was part of a bigger deal with Forest.  And we didn't have the money.  I remember a few years ago Moyes risking some cash on McFadden, which hasn't been a great success.  Then again, last year he picked up a player from Millwall, and look how that turned out.  The fact is, buying all those suggested players would not have happened, not by anyone.  That comment was straight out of Football Manager.  Moyes has taken some risks.  Some have worked, others haven't.  Same as any other manager.

Even clubs bigger than us couldn't get a decent stiker.  Liverpool?  They're European Champions; they've spunked god knows how much on Morientes, Cisse, and Crouch, (about 28M) and they've got the same problem as us!  Even Chelsea found it nigh-on impossible to buy one, and they have more money than any other club in the world!   What about Arsenal?   Without Henry, what else is there?  Van Persie?!  I heard Benitez and Wenger being slated by fans on 6-0-6 last weekend, with one red saying "What's Benitez done for us?"  Such short memories.  Is that the sort of fans that we are?

It's the same with England.  People want Sven out.  First, who'd replace him?  Allardyce?  Curbishly?  When Sven picks the England team, I'd be amazed if most fans would pick a different one, except maybe for the left side (Wright-Philips has done bugger all to suggest he should replace Beckham right now, although he's a good alternative).  And all because he's not English and doesn't rant along the touchline?  Take the Ferdinand v Campbell issue before the Austria game.  One newspaper said that he needed to drop Ferdinand to show that he picks on form, not reputation.  Then once it was confirmed Ferdinand had been dropped, the same paper said the next day that he was indecisive, chopping the side around.  Eh?

The only thing football fans are loyal to is some tribal notion of sticking to a clan, a club that they associate with.  They're not loyal to the manager, the players, or the board, no matter what's been achieved.  So really, what are we loyal to?  An ideal that could never live up to what we want it to be?  40,000 fans each week having a different desire as to what Everton should be?  Maybe that's the issue here.

Yes we're in trouble, but unless anyone can come up with reasons to sack a manager who over the last few years has turned the club around, whilst facing exactly the same problems as anyone else in his role, then I'm sorry.  Why don't we do something different than all other fans?  How about fully supporting the people who represent our club for once. 

I really thought fellow Evertonians were different from the rest of the idiots that support other teams that we had an understanding of the game, what people were trying to do that we weren't a mindless bunch that cry "sack him" like an angry mob as soon as things aren't working out.

I guess I was wrong.   

So there you go, I guess this is a rant, and in being so, maybe some people will hack through an argument that I haven't had time to fully explain.  Fair enough, your call.  But if you're one of the "Moyes out gang", well I completely disagree with you.

David Flynn


I'm not going to pad out my reply to your article, David, with a load of unnecessary verbiage so here are the bare bones of my response:

1. I am not a "Moyes Out!" man

2. Many of the arguments you voice in favour of retaining Moyes as boss hold true, ie:

  • Who is a necessarily better immediate replacement?
  • Most of the players he failed to sign last summer have not exactly set the game on fire
  • The quality of the team at best has never been more than solid mid-table & last seasons's performance has given fans a totally unrealistically set of expectations
  • Even so, these largely unexceptional players themselves have a major share of responsibility in placing the club in its present dire position
  • Gravesen was never that consistent
And so on....

3. There are several caveats however:-

Loyalty of support is not measured in terms of a slavish acceptance of less than our club motto. Any fan who gripes about our performance over the course of this calendar year has every right to do so without being branded a traitor. You give the impression that the vast majority of Evertonians fall into this category. I don't reckon this is the case. Where's the evidence? Anyway they pay good money & can moan if they feel justified.
Moyes has undeniably shown an unwillingness to deviate from last year's ploy of smothering the midfield. It's been found out. He has no Plan B. At Spurs on Saturday, he waited for us to go 2 goals down before he attempted to change the team to a more positive formation & even then we are left with the spectre of Dunc in the opposition box knocking the ball down to... NOBODY! There was hardly an Evertonian in the Spurs fucking half never mind in their box (TWO-NIL DOWN, remember). Alarmingly, this is an ever-familiar occurrence.

He places players on the bench who are still not fit to play (eg, Kroldrup). What the hell is that all about?

Conversely he has no desire to involve any of the club's more promising youngsters. Does he have a discernable youth policy? Can they be any more of a risk than some of the overpaid underperforming first-team donkeys?

In short, Moyes doesn't have the boldness required right now. He is altogether too negative & this is reflected in the lethargy that we see on the field.

Manager & Players failings apart, what has the anaemic & spineless board ever done about generating any real investment in the club over the years? Surely a call for shut up or put up (or plain fuck off!) is in order? Does any criticism here imply disloyalty?

Finally, yes football fans are tribal, thank Christ. Rightly 40,000 fans don't all have the same idea as to what Everton is all about. Vive la difference! And, as fans, may we ever continue to say it as we see it.

IMWT still holds for me... but for how much longer I wouldn't care to say.
Pete Scoffield, SE London (18/10/05)


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